The War of 1812: The Saga of Brock's Monument - Page Banner

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Letter A permanent memorial to General Brock was planned soon after the war ended. The original tower remained incomplete until 1840 when in one of the last acts of the 1837 Rebellion an explosive charge was set off in the base of the column. Extensive damage was done by the explosion and it stimulated immediate action to repair the damage.

"Lett I see has blown up the monument. This is a vandal trick - yet I blame him not. I would to God - I would to heaven that they would rise again."

Extract from an original letter from James Mackenzie
to William Lyon Mackenzie (Rochester, N.Y.), May 1, 1840
Mackenzie - Lindsey fonds
Reference Code: F 37, MU 1806
Archives of Ontario



Drawing: S.E. view of Brock's Monument on Queenston Heights, [ca. 1841]

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S.E. view of Brock's Monument on Queenston Heights
as it appeared on May 9th. A.D.: 1841, [ca. 1841]
Thomas Glegg fonds
Drawing
Reference Code: F 596
Archives of Ontario

Drawing: Brock's Monument restored, East elevation, [1841]

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Brock's Monument restored, East elevation, [1841]
Thomas Glegg fonds
Drawing
Reference Code: F 596
Archives of Ontario

The original Brock’s monument after the explosion and the artists impression of its restoration.

A new committee was struck and charged with the responsibility of raising funds to design and build a new monument a few hundred metres further north. Contributions came in slowly, including subscriptions from First Nations bands and militia units and the government of the United Province of Canada.


The document below is a memorial from the “River Credit Indians” expressing their shock at the destruction of the original Brock’s monument pledging £10 from their annual land payments towards reconstruction.

Memorial of the "River Credit Indians", January 2, 1841 - page 1

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Memorial of the "River Credit Indians", January 2, 1841
Brock Monument Committee fonds
Letter
Reference Code: F 1151, box MU 296
Archives of Ontario

Memorial of the "River Credit Indians", January 2, 1841 - page 2

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Memorial of the "River Credit Indians", January 2, 1841
Brock Monument Committee fonds
Letter
Reference Code: F 1151, box MU 296
Archives of Ontario


It was only in 1852 that sufficient funds were available to commission an architect and begin construction.

William Thomas of Toronto was the successful architect and received a prize of £25, in addition to the fees for the design and construction of the project.

As noted in the handbill...

"there is only one column, either ancient or modern, in Europe that exceeds the entire height of the proposed Brock Monument, which is that erected in London by Sir Christopher Wren, in commemoration of the great fire in 1666."

Brock Monument Committee fonds
Broadsheet
Reference Code: F 1151, box MU 296
Archives of Ontario

Broadsheet: The Brock Monument, 1853

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The Brock Monument, 1853
Brock Monument Committee fonds
Broadsheet
Reference Code: F 1151, box MU 296
Archives of Ontario


[Broadsheet announcing the rededication of Brock's Monument], 1853

Four years later, the new monument was completed.

The rededication of the monument marked by the interment of Brock and his aide-de-camp, was carried out with a pomp designed to impress the public with the sacrifice it represented.

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[Broadsheet announcing the rededication of Brock's Monument], 1853
William Hamilton Merritt family fonds
Poster
Reference Code: F 662, box MU 5850, package 8
Archives of Ontario


Shown to the right is Brock's monument as it appears today, although the photograph was taken in 1923.

Modelled on Nelson's Column in London, it was conceived as the primary monument to the defence of Upper Canada.

When he visited the site in 1920, M. O. Hammond noted in his diary:

"up lovely road to where Brock rode to victory & death and now lined by peach orchards & fine houses. At Queenston Heights we tarried & admired the great monument & the view."

Diary entry, October 9,1920
M. O. Hammond fonds
Reference Code: F 1075
Archives of Ontario

Photo: Brock monument, Queenston, July 8, 1923

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Brock monument, Queenston, July 8, 1923
M. O. Hammond
M. O. Hammond fonds
Black and white negative
Reference Code: F 1075, H653
Archives of Ontario, I0001142

To listen to an excerpt from this letter in wav format (343K), click here.To listen to an excerpt from Hammond's diary in "wav" format (343K) click here. It is also available in "aif" format (343K).